Posted by News Express | 23 May 2013 | 6,669 times
Radical members of the Catholic Church from Ahiara Mbaise Diocese have threatened to break away if they are pushed to the wall over their rejection of the Most Rev. Dr. Peter Ebere Okpaleke as the new Bishop of the Diocese.
Okpaleke was consecrated in Owerri, capital of Imo State, South-East Nigeria, than in neighbouring Mbaise due to fears of possible outbreak of violence in view of his rejection by the people.
While several Mbaise priests attended the event and even kissed his ring as a symbol of their loyalty, most of the priests and the laity remain adamant that he is not their Bishop. They say they prefer to stay without a Bishop for the ten years his tenure will last while the more radical ones are threatening severance of ties with Rome if the Vatican goes ahead to punish the Diocese in any way as speculated.
“Ahiara Diocese will soon have her Bishop whether the Vatican likes it or not,” said Robert Ogueri Unegbu, one of those preaching no-compromise on the issue.
According to him, “There are several Catholic sects with their Popes, like the Coptic and Orthodox Catholic Churches around the world and all are recognised within Christendom. Therefore, stripping Ahiara of her Diocese will strengthen her. Let them come on with it.”
Ben Okoro, a former Seminarian in the Vatican City, who holds the revered Cardinal Arinze responsible for the crisis, claiming that he misled the Vatican to appoint a man from his home state Anambra as Bishop rather than an Mbaise man, spoke in a similar vein.
His words: “Some people in Nigeria and those who have not know much about Catholic Church do not know that Mbaise will not lose if the Diocese is taken away from them. There are other Catholics of Washington DC (USA) that do not take orders from Vatican that will embrace Mbaise immediately and supply them with money and more to make Mbaise part of theirs. It is just a rumor that Mbaise will be stripped off their diocese. Mbaise Catholics are on the way to getting their Bishop.”
News Express learnt that in view of the people’s current mood, Bishop Okpaleke will steer clear of the Diocese pending when the people’s anger runs its course.
•Photo shows Ben Okoro.
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